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Christian School in Sunderland placed in special measures following "inadequate" rating by inspectors

Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland has been placed in special measures by Ofsted following an "inadequate" rating by inspectors.

The inspection took place in November last year, and the report comments on the attitude of children at the school, mentioning "prejudice-based bullying" shown by the pupils.

The report says the school "does not adequately prepare pupils for life in modern Britain", saying they showed a lack of respect for those who belong to different faiths, cultures and communities.

It also says the school does not do enough to tackle bullying and that "discrimination persists through racist or homophobic language."

The Ofsted report says its inadequate rating is because of the school's "failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school."

In response to the report, Grindon Hall's Principal has released a statement saying the rating was a "complete shock" to teachers and parents.

The Ofsted report issued to us today will come as a huge shock to our parents, pupils and staff because they – along with anyone who knows us – will not recognise the school portrayed there.

It is now well known that the manner in which inspectors questioned our pupils in November was hostile, inappropriate and raises serious safeguarding issues.

Despite raising these concerns more than a month ago we have yet to receive any response from Ofsted. To issue a report that grades the best performing secondary state-funded school in Sunderland (latest published GCSE results) as the worst defies all common sense and logic. Pupils, parents and staff are deeply concerned that, because of the widely reported breakdown of trust between the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofsted, schools like Grindon Hall are being caught in the crossfire.

Playing politics with the new regulations on “British values” is not acceptable and does little to help our children prepare for life or achieve good exam results.

– Grindon Hall Christian School's Principal, Chris Gray

Other comments from the report say that children at the school are not progressing at the rate they should be, with the most able children going unchallenged and younger children not being taught at a stage "typical" for their age group.

In his statement, the Principal also says that they have complained against Ofsted and the "negative and hostile" way in which they interviewed the school's children.

I made a formal complaint to Ofsted on 11 December, stating that the inspection was negative and hostile. I have not received a reply. I also submitted a factual error report to Ofsted last week. It is disappointing that of the 13 errors raised, only 3 of them have been addressed in the final report. Regrettably, one change Ofsted did make which we did not want was to take out a positive reference to how our grades in 2014 “fared well against a similar dip nationally”.

Ofsted removed a paragraph from the draft report stating: “The Christian ethos of the school permeates much of the school’s provision. This has restricted the development of a broad and balanced approach to the curriculum.” This phrase revealed unwarranted skepticism on the part of the inspection team about our Christian ethos.

I will be submitting a formal complaint under the usual procedures now that the report has been issued.

– Grindon Hall Christian School's Principal, Chris Gray

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